Karen Bass claims that libraries are dangerous. She’d never written fiction until she started working in her local library – which was where the storytelling bug bit. Her third novel for teens, Drummer Girl (Coteau, 2011) is the contemporary story of Sid and her desire to be a drummer and what she’s willing to do to get the gig. Kirkus calls Drummer Girl “fast paced and insightful,” and it received an OLA Best Bets honourable mention. It’s also a “best bet” that Karen will continue writing and reading YA, which thrills her inner teenager.
In 2006, Pat Bourke read as part of the Fringe at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. This year, the Festival is ecstatic to welcome Pat back as a published author with her first novel Yesterday’s Dead (Second Story, 2012). The story follows young Meredith at the end of the First World War. She yearns to become a teacher but leaves school to help support her family by working as a maid for a doctor and as caretaker of his children. Then, the Spanish Flu hits the city and Meredith struggles with questions of duty and responsibility when one of the children falls ill.
Pat lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.
Evan Munday is the illustrator of the novel Stripmalling, written by Jon Paul Fiorentino, and is the cartoonist behind the self-published graphic novel series, Quarter-Life Crisis, set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto. The Dead Kid Detective Agency (ECW, 2011), his first novel, has received high praise from Kirkus, Quill & Quire, and the Waterloo Region Record. October Schwarz is new in town and spending her free time in the Sticksville Cemetery. She befriends the ghosts of five dead teenagers who help her investigate a murder plot, leading them into car chases, cafeteria fights, and encounters with sociopathic math teachers. Fans are hopeful this book becomes the first of a series. Evan is the publicist for Coach House Books and lives in Toronto, ON.
Allan Stratton is an award-winning, internationally published and produced playwright and novelist. His YA novel Chanda’s Secrets is the winner of twenty-six awards and citations, including the ALA’s Michael L. Printz Honor Book, the Children’s Africana Best Book Award, and Booklist’s Editor’s Choice. The film version, Life, Above All, won the Prix François Chalais at the Cannes Film Festival and was South Africa’s Oscar entry for best foreign language film. Its sequel, Chanda’s Wars, won the CLA Young Adult Book Award and was a Junior Library Guild selection (USA).
The Grave Robber’s Apprentice (HarperCollins, 2012) is Allan’s latest feat. Hans was washed ashore as a baby in a wooden box to be adopted by a conniving grave robber. Fate throws him together with Angela von Schwanenberg, a young countess fleeing the evil Archduke Anulf. Together, Hans and Angela work to uncover his past and save Angela’s parents from the archduke.
Writer and performer Mariko Tamaki has garnered much acclaim for both her written and performance-based work. Tamaki’s graphic novel Skim, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Her next book, Set Me on Fire, is expected this fall from Razorbill. She is currently dividing her time between San Francisco and Toronto.
Teresa Toten is an award-winning author who was born in Zagreb, Croatia, but left for Canada on that same day. She developed her broad taste in reading as a result of her non-English-speaking mother’s habit of filling shopping bags full of books from wildly different sections of the local library. Teresa’s first job out of graduate school was freelancing for Radio-Canada International. She’s twice been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, once for The Game in 2001 and again for Me and the Blondes in 2006. Her acclaimed anthology, Piece by Piece: Stories about Fitting into Canada was released in 2010. The Taming (Doubleday, 2012), which was written in alternating voices with Eric Walters, was released this year. It is a dark and compelling look at young love gone very, very wrong.
Janet Wilson returns to the Festival with her new book Shannen and the Dream for a School (Second Story, 2011), which follows the true story of Shannen Koostachin and the people of Attawapiskat who have been fighting for a new school since 1979 when a fuel spill contaminated their original building.
Janet is an author, artist, and speaker, whose talents often highlight the advocacy work of others. Her book, Our Earth: How Kids Are Saving the Planet, is an illustrated collection of inspirational stories and eco-information, and her earlier book, One Peace: True Stores of Young Activists, won the Children’s Roundtable Information Book Award.
Julie Wilson is The Book Madam, a self-professed “professional publishing fan” living and working in Toronto. She is the past Online Marketing Manager for House of Anansi Press and recent host of the CBC Book Club. She thinks reading looks good on you. Of her new book, Seen Reading (Freehand, 2012), fellow Festival author, Ami McKay, says, “I spy with my little eye, something that is utterly delightful. Take a peek at Julie Wilson’s Seen Reading. There are treasures to be found within.” Post your own reader sightings using #seenreading.